The Boston University softball team had a successful weekend at the Yale Invitational, going 3-1 in its final tournament of the regular season.
“I think we took a big step forward this weekend,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason. “We took the momentum we had from Spring Break and brought it into the weekend. We were just in attack mode and aggressive mode.”
First up for the Terriers (14-11) was Yale University. In a hard-fought matchup, the teams dueled for eight innings before an RBI single from senior catcher Amy Ekart put BU on top 3-2 over the Bulldogs (3-13).
The game ended up being a pitchers’ duel and each starter lasted the entirety of the game. For BU, sophomore pitcher Lauren Hynes only allowed three hits and two unearned runs in her eight innings of work.
In the top of the eighth inning, Yale grabbed a 2-1 lead courtesy of an RBI double from outfielder Tori Balta.
The Terriers rallied, though, and in the bottom half of the inning, junior second baseman Emily Felbaum singled home senior shortstop Brittany Clendenny to tie up the score. Hynes then helped her own cause with a single to advance Felbaum to second base. Ekart followed, driving in Felbaum with an RBI single of her own to seal the victory for the Terriers.
Later on Saturday, BU defeated Bryant University, 8-3, with Ekart leading the charge again. The catcher followed up her game-winning single with a three-RBI game, including a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning that gave BU a 4-1 lead.
Gleason said the day was a turning point for the senior catcher.
“It was huge for her,” Gleason said of Ekart. “She’s our main catcher behind the plate and she gives everything she has all game catching. She just keeps swinging and that’s what we want to do when we’re struggling is to just keep swinging the bat. You’re going to get out of it.”
Bryant (10-11) made a comeback attempt in the bottom of the fourth when shortstop Aubrey Maple delivered a two-run homer of her own.
But BU quickly responded, as the Terriers added two homers in their half of the fifth inning. Freshman third baseman Brittany Younan provided a solo blast and a junior outfielder Mandy Fernadez crushed a two-run homer.
That offensive outburst put the game out of reach and Bryant did not score another run for the rest of the game. Freshman pitcher Makinna Akers went the distance, striking out five hitters in the win.
Sunday, BU again played Yale and Bryant, but had mixed results.
The Terriers had no problems dispatching Yale, winning 13-2 in the day’s first contest. Hynes pitched another complete game and improved her record to 7-6 in 2014.
Younan and Cledenny each contributed three RBI and Felbaum hit a two-run home run, her first of the year. Those three provided the runs batted in and power, but it was senior outfielder Jayme Mask who set the tone of the game.
Mask went 3-for-4 in the leadoff spot for the Terriers, adding to her team-leading .421 batting average. The outfielder continued to be a threat on the bases and stole two bases in the win.
After the third consecutive win of the weekend, the Terriers dropped their only game of the Invitational by a 7-5 margin when they faced Bryant for a second time.
“We still need to find that consistency and that starts on the mound,” Gleason said. “The most consistent thing we’ve had is our offense and now our pitching and defense is getting up there, too.”
Bryant held a commanding 5-0 lead before the bottom of the fifth inning. In that fifth inning however, the Terriers feasted on pitcher Elle Madsen for five runs coming on three RBI singles.
The tie did not last very long though, and the Bulldogs were able to get two runs in the top of the sixth off of Hynes. The two runs were enough for Byrant and the Bulldogs walked away with the victory.
Overall, Gleason said she was happy with the play of her team during the weekend and looks forward to playing Patriot League opponents for the first time.
“We took a big step forward this weekend,” Gleason said. “But we’re excited for non-conference and we’re very excited for Patriot League play and to be back in our home park.”